S. E. McKinley


As a child, I kept trying to write stories on my parent’s typewriter and those stories consisted of a lot of what would probably be called fan fiction. They were attempts at creating the same stories I would watch on TV, or read in comics. Through junior high and high school I would find myself detached from a class, so I'd do the writing equivalent of doodling. Nothing ever came of those stories since they were attempts to kill time when I didn't have a book or an interesting class to pay attention to.
It wasn't until college when I woke from a very vivid dream that stuck with me, because in it I wasn't me and the world wasn't what it really was. Usually in my dreams, I'm firmly grounded in the real world, places I'd really been and doing things I'd really done. But this dream took me to a place similar to the ones I'd only visited in books and in movies. So I spent the rest of the day telling everyone who would listen to me about the crazy dream. The responses almost universally consisted of 'that sounds silly.'
By the end of that day, I had decided that dream would be my first real novel. Though being a physics major instead of an english or creative writing major, made it difficult to work on. Then graduate school in teaching and of course, my job as a teacher provided plenty of excuses to not put my full energies into that novel. After sixteen years of working on it here and there, I finished it.
Over the last few years, I've continued writing when I find the time. Usually during summer or spring break from school, I manage to find the time and emotional energy to write, and I've noticed that in my writing over the last few years, I've been able to create characters far more relatable, and real, than what appears in that first novel, and though I often blame my job as a teacher for not having that necessary time and emotional energy, it may very well be responsible for an increased empathy I need when telling my characters stories. As a teacher, I interact with countless new people every year. Every possible background, personality, talent, aspiration, or character flaw walks through my classroom during the course of a school year. I believe seeing and interacting with so much diversity helps me relate with my characters and to allow them to come to life on the page.
Even though I write far less frequently than I would like, I find that I’ve been more productive when I do manage to find time to plop down in front of my laptop. I’ve heard of the reclusive writer who sits sequestered from the world pounding out page after page of gold, and I often dream of the opportunity to spend a life writing, hidden away from the world. However, I don’t think I’d have as much to say if I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet and help so many people on the level that I’ve managed to as a teacher and I know that I wouldn’t have the ability to understand what my characters have to say if I hadn’t learned to understand my students. I hope my readers have as much fun empathizing with my characters as I do.

Smashwords Interview

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember as a child, just before going to kindergarten, my parents reading to me a book called Dolphins. I had them read me that little book every day for weeks. Then one day, I was pestering them to read it to me but they were all too busy just at that moment so I took it and started reading it out loud. At first they just thought I'd memorized it, but then I found a page that had been stuck together and started reading a page I'd never heard. Correctly. They stopped what they were doing and looked, thinking I'd made stuff up, but every word I said was printed there on the page. At that point they knew I could read, and the deal they made about telling everyone that I had learned to read made me realize that reading and writing were very important.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Tough question. My favorite non-fiction piece is A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. I have a degree in physics and teach high school physics and have loved science since I can remember and this is one of the most important books written about science in a non-technical way. The Watchmen graphic novel is another favorite of mine. I love the different approach taken in showing superheroes and their psychology. The Shining by Stephen King is probably my top favorite. The story has it's creepy setting, and the plot twist of the man who should be savior being the one to be feared was only part of why I love it. The characters are so fully developed that you truly have an emotional connection to each of them, which is where the horror comes from in that book. Michael Crichton's The Lost World is another favorite. I love dinosaurs, I love books, and the way Crichton approached the various scientific fields in his book just drew me completely in. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers rounds out my list of five. It is one of those books that I gave up getting anywhere near enough sleep one night to finish. Just couldn't put it down. I paid for it the next day, but it was worth it.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find S. E. McKinley online

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Sorry, I Didn't Mean To Elbow You There!
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 19,210. Language: English. Published: July 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
A special agent is dispatched to Washington, D.C. to make a transfer of a microdot with precious data and finds himself dealing with the most unusual of circumstances, from chatty air line passengers to a clumsy, but graceful partner. What should be routine turns into a fight for his life against a bizarre organization that may not have all their facts straight.
Short Journeys: A Short Story Collection
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,950. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
Take five Short Journeys through different genres of horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and small taste of romance that feature elves, goblins, teenagers and other shadowy characters.
Grudge of the Sorceress
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 42,930. Language: English. Published: March 27, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
Two men survive a violent hunt one night. One is a village blacksmith apprentice who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. The other travels about the countryside spreading an embellished story, seeking glory and adventure. When a recluse sorceress hears the story, she brings the estranged friends together and sends them on another hunt to end an old grudge.
An Elf's Pain
Price: Free! Words: 3,170. Language: English. Published: May 15, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
A lonely elf comes to terms with his past thanks to the aid of a traveling trader and the trader's wife. Violent content not suitable for younger readers.
A Goblin's Tale
Price: Free! Words: 2,270. Language: English. Published: May 11, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
A goblin patrolman finds a human family traveling through his clan's valley and must relay the news to his territorial chieftain.

S. E. McKinley's tag cloud

dark comedy    dragons    elf    elves    fantasy    goblins    horror    magic    s e mckinley    science fiction    scifi    spy    spy comedy    spy espionage